The government of Rwanda is expected to issue a national policy guidelines to eliminate gas motorcycles in its transport sector for electric motorcycles.
“We will find a way to replace the ones you have now. We urge taxi-moto operators to help us when the phase-out process comes,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame speaking at a youth forum.
The Director-General for the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority Patrick Nyirishema confirmed that Kagame’s comments were ahead of a national e-mobility plan in the works for the East African nation.
“The president’s announcement is exactly the policy direction. It Is about converting to electric motors. The policy is prepared, it’s yet to be passed and is going through the approval process,” Nyirishema said.
Passengers and motorcyclists have said the electric vehicles are going to dramatically change how Rwandans do business.
James Musisi 45, is one of motorcyclists who uses the motorcycles in moto-taxi business.
Musisi said, "There is no chain, no drum brake, and requires less maintenance compared to those that use fuel lubricant every week and have to change the oil."
Currently, there are 10 of the motorcycles running on Kigali's roads, but more than 600 are being built.
They're also relatively cheap. One electric bike costs $1,300 — less expensive than the $1,600 price for fuel motorcycles.
The motorcycle taxi markets in Africa are estimated to be worth at $4 billion. In the past few years, they have seen a flurry of tech investment and expansion. Uber and Bolt got into the motorcycle taxi business in Africa in 2018.
Kigali based venture, Ampersand has already jumped on the opportunity. The startup has already begun to pilot EVs and charging systems in Rwanda.
The company has already worked on its feasibility study for implementation of electric vehicles across Rwanda since last year.
According to CEO Josh Whale, “We also got a grant from the government and it’s been tied in really well with the feasibility study."
Rwanda has become a model country in the push for a more environmental world. The city of Kigali has been hailed as one of the cleanest cities not only in Africa but in the world.
In 2008, Rwanda banned plastic shopping bags. Last year, it banned the use of single-use plastic materials, including water bottles. This was way ahead of most first-world countries which have not been dragging their feet in adopting policies that protect the planet.
Header Image Credit: TechCrunch